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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Simply going for a walk can put you at risk in California

It seems innocent enough: You are looking for some exercise or an economical way to get to work, so you decide to go by foot. At Nield Law Group, APC, we have seen too many cases in which a pedestrian is seriously injured – or worse – as a result of a car crash. It is important for victims or the deceased’s survivors to know their rights following an incident.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 76,000 people were injured in a pedestrian knockdown in 2012, and nearly more than 4,700 were killed. In California, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that more than 560 people were killed as a result of such an event.

Should I file a personal injury claim?

If you have suffered a serious injury or illness as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important to understand the rules governing the process. For example, according to The Judicial Branch of California, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury. If you were not aware of the injury immediately, you have just one year to file a claim from the time the condition was discovered.

On top of rules regarding statutes of limitations, you should do a little homework to determine whether or not you have a case. In general, personal injury lawsuits are used after someone suffers a significant injury or illness with serious consequences and expenses. For example, if you were hospitalized after a car crash and may have long-term side effects, it is likely worth consulting with an attorney. However, if the car crash is merely a fender-bender, it may not be worth your time to pursue a claim. An attorney is best-suited to look over the details of your case with you to determine if it has merit.

Diagnostic errors dominate medical malpractice claims

According to the Journal of Patient Safety, between 210,000 and 400,000 people die every year because of a medical mistake. Based on these numbers, the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that medical negligence has become the third leading cause of death in the country. The reason for the range in numbers is that limitations in medical records make the exact cause hard to track.

What is not disputable is the leading factor behind medical malpractice lawsuits: diagnostic errors. A diagnostic error could mean:

Wrong-way driver crashes into cyclists, paralyzing La Jolla man

Many cyclists in San Diego may be seen riding in a pack along the city’s roads. Training with a group is a great way for people to reach their fitness goals, as it provides motivation, camaraderie and support. Unfortunately, riding with the group does not guarantee protection from a hit-and-run accident or other run-in with an irresponsible driver. As one cyclist has learned, serious injuries can result from such an experience.

In the middle of August, a La Jolla man was finishing up his ride with roughly 30 other cyclists. The pack was on Fiesta Island when a 49-year-old woman drove the wrong way and crashed into the group. The man, who is a husband and a father, pushed another rider out of the way and suffered much of the impact. He is now paralyzed from the chest down. Several others in the group were also sent to the hospital with injuries.

How surgical errors are actually making hospitals money

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a report last year that depicted an upsetting trend: When surgeons make a medical mistake, hospitals make more money. Those errors can include the following:

  • Misidentifying which part of the body needs an operation

What is the proposed law regarding malpractice in California?

Voters in California this fall will get a chance to significantly impact the way the state handles medical malpractice claims. If you have been a victim of medical negligence, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit. Currently, California law caps the awards for malpractice claims at $250,000. There are several important aspects of the proposed malpractice law, one of which addresses that compensation cap. According to the legislation, dubbed the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014, people who have suffered due to a medical mistake should be eligible to receive as much as $1 million in damages.

In addition to increasing potential awards, the act also seeks to keep patients safe through strengthening the state’s policies regarding physicians who misuse drugs and alcohol. If passed, the law would require doctors to be randomly tested and report any positive results to the California Medical Board. The board would then have to suspend physicians who have tested positive, pending an investigation into whether or not they were impaired while on duty. 

Practice safety around dogs in order to avoid an attack

Dogs can be lovable, furry friends that prompt people of all ages to reach out and say hello. However, before you extend your hand to pet a dog, consider the fact that the dog may not react how you would expect. Here at Nield Law, we see many people who are the victim of an unexpected dog attack.

NBC San Diego reports that in the period between July 1, 2012, June 30, 2013, there were nearly 2,700 people in San Diego who suffered a dog bite. According to a spokesperson for the county’s animal services department, dogs that were first-time offenders were responsible for nearly all of those instances.

Report: More than 500,000 doctors struggle with substance abuse

There are several things that can lead to a medical professional making a mistake that has serious consequences. An error in judgment or misreading a patient’s record, for example, can result in a San Diego patient experiencing unnecessary suffering. Proposed medical malpractice legislation is targeting another explanation for medical errors, and it’s one that could have a profound effect.

A sleep medicine expert from La Jolla was charged with helping his girlfriend gain access to prescription drugs. While he pled not guilty to the charges, he did admit that he smoked meth, and he surrendered his license to practice medicine.

Lawsuit: Child has limited movement in arm due to birth injury

As many people know, there are a number of things that could go wrong during childbirth. While some birth injuries may not be prevented, there are others that occur at the hands of the attending physicians. Parents in San Diego whose children suffer due to medical malpractice have a right to hold the responsible parties accountable, as illustrated by a recent lawsuit.

On March 1, 2011, a child was born in Illinois. Doctors assessed her immediately and gave her Apgar scores of 7 and 9, noting that her left arm was floppy. The arm had become stuck during delivery, creating a situation known as shoulder dystocia. The attending obstetrician reportedly tried several maneuvers in order to deliver the baby, eventually turning her.

San Diego driver failed to see pedestrian in deadly accident

Distracted driving or alcohol-related incidents are often the target of campaigns that aim to reduce traffic accidents. However, there are many instances in which San Diego drivers make a simple mistake that results in fatalities. It could be failing to put on a turn signal or momentarily taking their eyes off the road to change the radio station. In one recent situation, a driver simply did not see a pedestrian, causing a fatal outcome.

There have been 14 deadly pedestrian accidents in San Diego this year, which is a record, according to a spokeswoman for Circulate San Diego. The agency hopes the city will eliminate traffic-related deaths through providing education, infrastructure and enforcement. Yet those tools may not have saved the pedestrian killed recently.

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